Iowa Board of Regents

UNI Seeks Approval for New Home for Nursing Program

Design of a large medical skills lab with people working at desks.

At its February meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval of schematic design, project description and budget for phase one of UNI’s Innovative Teaching and Technology Center (ITTC) project. If approved, UNI would begin renovating the ground and third floors of the ITTC (formerly the East Gym) to accommodate its new nursing program, which is slated to start in Fall 2024. 

The project, funded with $4.95 million in university funds and grants/gifts, would renovate 12,800 square feet of space to be used as experiential learning space for students to learn and train in. The space includes hybrid laboratories that facilitate small group learning as well as immersive practice-based learning. Flexible simulation environments would allow instructors to design numerous hands-on exercises, while storage and support spaces will allow these spaces to perform and function seamlessly.

Design of a nursing school lobby with people sitting on benches.

“This space will help UNI prepare students to serve the workforce needs of the state,” said Michael Hager, UNI senior vice president of finance and operation. “The new space will help us address the critical nursing shortage in Iowa and across the country.”

UNI’s bachelors in nursing (BSN) program, approved by the Board in November 2022, will provide many opportunities for experiential learning, including 405 hours of hands-on patient care in clinical settings and 130 hours in a nursing laboratory. In addition, students will complete a 135 hour internship during their final semester and will have the opportunity to participate in research or continuous improvement projects. 

Based on the latest data from the American Association of College of Nursing, there are more than 8,000 qualified applicants for nursing programs in the Midwest that were denied entry. In addition, there are students that are not applying because they cannot afford the tuition at a private Iowa nursing school. UNI’s program can position itself to draw from these pools of students, which are more than sufficient to fill its cohorts with qualified nursing candidates.

Funding for the program will be supported by reallocation of existing resources.

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